How to Select the Right Licensed Practical or Vocational Nursing College near Nikiski Alaska
Once you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it's imperative that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school near Nikiski AK that will provide the proper training. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next section. When initiating their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least expensive. Although cost and location are important points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other variables, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN training program that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let's look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
What does an LPN or LVN Do?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many functions that they accomplish in the Nikiski AK health facilities where they practice. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alaska. While they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients requiring medical care is their dominion. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can't perform. So depending on the state, their daily work functions may include:
- Checking vital signs
- Administering medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Observing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Assisting doctors or RNs with procedures
In addition to their job responsibilities being mandated by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Nikiski AK healthcare providers where LPNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN CoursesThere are basically two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become an LPN near Nikiski AK. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These LPN programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor's Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
LPN and LVN Online Programs
Attending LPN schools online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Nikiski AK. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask LPN and LVN ProgramsOnce you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges near Nikiski AK as well as within Alaska and throughout the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program along with the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools near Nikiski AK.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for LPNs differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alaska school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local Nikiski AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN programs you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Nikiski AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with local Nikiski AK community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Nikiski Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse Program
Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is potentially the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is essential that you choose an LPN school and a certificate or degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse in Nikiski AK.